“The Best of Me” is a complicated movie about a simple story. James Marsden plays Dawson, a young man who comes from an unloving family. His father is abusive and his brothers do anything Dad says to do. After physical abuse by his father, Dawson finds a garage to sleep in until he is woken by an older man named Tuck (Gerald McRaney). Tuck takes a liking to Dawson and lets him stay. When Dawson begins to date the beautiful Amanda, his life dramatically improves. Young Amanda is played by Liana Liberato, and Amanda in her thirties is played by Michelle Monaghan. Young Dawson is played by Luke Bracey, who doesn’t resemble James Marsden but does a good job in the role.
Dawson’s father doesn’t like him living with Tuck and comes to take him home, but Tuck runs him off the property, shooting his truck lights out in the process. Dawson’s father promises retribution. Dawson and Amanda are inseparable until a tragic event occurs. Dawson makes a fateful decision and he and Amanda go their separate ways. Years later Tuck’s will brings them back together, and this is when the story becomes complicated.
A lot of events are stuffed into the plot during the last third of film, but the frantic pace works against the movie instead of in its favor. I also saw the ending coming a mile away, and I don’t think it will be pleasant for a lot of viewers. At any rate, the movie contains strong language and unfaithfulness by a wife and we are unable to award the film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.